Never Rest

The danger of success is losing energy and the drive to keep going on. It’s just a little too easy to sit back and rest on the laurels. We stop confronting ourselves, stop pushing and expand. Why should we? We have found a formula that seems to work. But creativity isn’t repeating, isn’t conforming to a formula, but to keep widening the horizon.

Thus what is done is done and shall not be the end of the road. Certainly we ought to enjoy the moment of success – but then push on. It doesn’t matter if the success is small or big – getting a Liebster blog award, getting assigned by the dream contractor, getting pictures exhibited on a show, getting positive feedback from fellow photographers, getting great results from the last shoot or just knowing that we had done a good day’s work – no matter what, we cannot allow ourselves to sit back and rest on our laurels. To be content, too content, is just as much an obstacle for the creative mind as the opposite, being too critical of one self. No, let it all go, keep moving on and enjoy new creative impulses. Because there is only one way for the creative mind: Forward, ever onward.

The question is really why do we do what we do? We are not just photographing – or creating in other fields for that matter – because we need to do something, we do it because it’s a way of expressing our inner creative urge. So let it come out and not get stifled by old thinking and what we believe brings more success. Because then it won’t. The point is, we want to be creative, and photography – or other creative fields – is solely the tool for our creativity. Whichever way we chose to express ourselves is in accordance with our creative soul or spirit. If we think we have found the formula, all too soon it will start to be boring, boring to ourselves and boring to our audience or viewers or spectators.

Conformity stops the creative process. It becomes a pillow so soft and pleasant, that it suffocate the creative process. Success is a good feeling, but even better is the feeling of creation itself. And creating means bringing new into life – not repeating what has already been done.

53 thoughts on “Never Rest

  1. Wonderful thought. I love reading your posts, as they are simple yet very meaningful. Everything you said in this post is so thoughtful. I liked it a lot.
    “creating means bringing new into life – not repeating what has already been done.” what a meaningful statement this is. It’s so true.

  2. This post is very timely for me. I just had my work displayed at a local gallery and I am doing a art show this weekend but yesterday I had to push myself to go out and shoot some more. It is so easy like you say to just sit back and watch the success but creativity does not rest and if you listen asks for more. So I totally agree we must all keep moving on to the next creative thought or action.
    Love your posts.

  3. But it would be so nice to rest!

    Yet of course you are right. And sooner or later the creative whatever-it-is gets restless, and begins kicking from within, demanding to be born.

  4. Ah, but creativity can be a hard mistress…it comes and goes without warning sometimes and can leave you breathless without knowing why. When validation comes from an outside source as we often seek as humans and it is not positive, that urge to be creative can easily be silenced. It’s knowing how to balance the very real human critic and still be joyful in the creative no matter what the outcome.

    Good topic for a Monday morning….I will be talking about doing art for free and the pure joy of it…today on my blog.

  5. Once again, I have thoroughly enjoyed this blog. I am not a photographer, I write. I have felt unchallenged for a long time, only because I haven’t challenged myself. That has changed as I am now pushing, pushing, pushing. Thanks for keeping the creative mind moving forward by way of your blog.

  6. You wrote so nicely dear Otto, and also so meaningful. I loved this thought. And the photograph is so lovely, made me smile. Thank you, it is always so nice to read your articles. With my love, nia

  7. Thank you Otto, great post here, as always. I have made a note, in particular, your last paragraph, and have in front of my computer. Thank you again.

  8. How odd that this post comes today. On Saturday I had my booth up at an equine-oriented Christmas sale event, and a (I think teenage) young man stopped to engage in an extended chat with me about what it is to be an artist (which he is actively pursuing via classes). I somehow got around to making the point that it’s easy for an artist to get really good at one thing and just stop there. But if you want to continue to have the excitement of discovery in your life, you have to keep pushing yourself to try new techniques or new subject matter. Even if the experiment doesn’t turn out to be satisfying, there is always something to learn from it, or something that may come in handy somewhere else down the road.

  9. As always you articulate a thought so well. Creativity is very demanding, it consumes time and energy and can be close to an addiction. Somehow one has to maintain a balance. Not easy!

  10. I am glad to be able to inspire, because everyone of you do the same for me. I think you are all a bunch very creative people, and if we can encourage each other to push on being more creative, no matter what we do, then nothing is better than that.

  11. “Never rest.” We should never forget to strive, to make goals , to seek meaning and purpose. If we taught that we already got everything and there is no reason to persevere, then in time, we will loose meaning of our reason for existence. When we are motivated, we want to savor life’s events…each and every bit of it. Wonderful post that truly inspires! Thanks.

  12. Excellent thoughts, excellently expressed. “…not repeating what has already been done” is something that has really hit home with me recently.
    (I hope that electric fence was turned off!)

  13. I was going to leave a flippant remark based on my blog name-“rest, don’t know the meaning of the word!”, but having read your blog I can only applaud. I’m in no serious danger as I’m still striving, but the pleasure I get from kind comments is immense.

  14. I don’t think my creative spark would ever let me rest. I may pause and ride a comfortable wave for a while, but it won’t be long before the nag resumes! 😀

  15. To me success is the result of a meeting of your creativity and an appreciative outside world. That is wonderful but since we and the outside world move on, it can last or it will not last. Since ongoing success isn’t guaranteed, we better move on hoping to meet appreciative public or platform again and again while listening to our creative source.
    I like the photo and noticed that sweet, stuffed bear, glowing red from an overcharge of electricity. 🙂
    Cheers, Paula

  16. Good words for thought, Otto. My goal for 2011 was to learn how to use my macro lens, which really got me out of my comfort zone. You’ve inspired me to come up with a new goal for 2012. Thank you.

  17. So true – I need to constantly remind myself of this! I have a tough time with the balance between resting and criticizing myself (which comes from comparing myself to others… another big creativity killer!) Thanks for this inspirational reminder!

  18. i believe that we are creative because it express more deeply who we are … and as long as we are having fun while creating it is all right … the problem is when we start to ‘hold’ on to it … in any way … thank you for your lovely visit at my blog … your pictures are for sure beautiful!!!

  19. Great post!
    Love this
    “The question is really why do we do what we do? We are not just photographing – or creating in other fields for that matter – because we need to do something, we do it because it’s a way of expressing our inner creative urge.”

    and I love the photo 🙂 Brilliant to have her standing so sweetly on an “electric fence”

  20. This post does make me pause and think in a “never rest” way. The momentum of never resting is exhilarating. In never resting we engage endlessly on many levels throughout our day. The momentum makes us connect in unexpected ways. The creativity is in the unexpected, and capturing it. Then at night, my body and mind say “Do rest.”

  21. Great post. I have sort of plateaued lately and what you say is absolutely true. You never really get to the end you just keep going along the journey learning, expanding, moving forward. And really the new is so exciting. I’m just not sure why it takes me so long to regroup! Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

  22. The urge to follow a formula is often
    considered a safe business practice,
    once one is established. When one is
    fighting for recognition, It often helps
    to create a nich for yourself – so that
    you’ll get noticed – adhearing to old
    rules isen’t just a matter of lazyness
    or entitlement it’s a matter of fear. ” I
    was just following the rules.” Is often
    a better excuse for a failed idea then
    going out on a limb. Great article,
    very thought provoking.

  23. While I was reading the post, I felt what you were saying is not applicable to creativity at all, that there can be no formula of success where creativity is concerned but then realised that there ARE formulas even there. when an actor is typecast as an ‘action hero’ or a designer as a post-modern one and so on. While it breeds complacency in the creators, it brings on boredom for the viewers or consumers. Experimenting with new things is the best way to grow. Loved the first para which is so full of wisdom. 🙂

  24. A very inspiring and thought provoking read Otto and yes, success is sweet but indulge too long in it can bring decay to the creative process…..awesome! 🙂

  25. Otto,
    I agree with your commentary. In fact, I had to ask myself, “Am I being formulaic in my M-F photoblog?” The answer is “yes” to some degree–I have to come up with a catchy title and “punny” caption for one of my photos each weekday. But the fact that, for a year now, I have never tired of the challenge of coming up with a daily post (and that I delight MYSELF with what I’m producing) tells me that the format of my blog is the only static element and that I have hit upon a “formula” that can be creative indefinitely. –John

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